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Precision Airdrop from a Fixed-Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Information Technology, Mathematics and Electrical Engineering, Department of Engineering Cybernetics.
2014 (English)MasteroppgaveStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Accurate mapping of the polar regions requires reliable placement of wireless transmitting sensors, also known as beacons, on icebergs and drift ice. This thesis considers the use of a specific fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle, known as the Penguin B, to accurately deploy said beacons from the air. An analysis of the possible precision airdrop methods was conducted and the decision was made to release the beacon in free fall from the aircraft. The estimated trajectory was calculated and used to decide the optimal release position and direction. Combined this is known as the release configuration. Moreover, two different aircraft path planning algorithms were developed in order to achieve the desired configuration. The final system, including the necessary hardware and software, was implemented into the provided framework. This system was further tested through simulations in the laboratory in addition to some field testing. The simulations revealed that with the most advanced path planning algorithm, it was possible to achieve a close to optimal release configuration. This further resulted in an airdrop where the accuracy of the impact depended primarily on the altitude of release, in addition to the unpredictable environmental factors, such as wind gusts. The field tests displayed that the system was successfully implemented into the provided framework. However, unforeseen technical difficulties related to the aircraft, outside the control of this project, prevented in-air testing. Under the assumptions made throughout this thesis, the simulations revealed that the implemented system was able to reliably deploy the beacon such that it landed within a relatively small perimeter around the target.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutt for teknisk kybernetikk , 2014. , 159 p.
URN: urn:nbn:no:ntnu:diva-25909Local ID: ntnudaim:10777OAI: diva2:742163
Available from: 2014-08-31 Created: 2014-08-31 Last updated: 2014-08-31Bibliographically approved

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